Korn Interview

By Mario Trevizo

Published on Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hard rock/alternative metal band Korn has been a genre staple for over a decade now and continues to put out new albums every couple of years. Their latest, Korn III: Remember Who You Are recently came out on Roadrunner Records and Mario Trevizo had the chance to speak with bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu.

When you all first started out, what sort of vision did you have for the band musically?

The sound, at the time, Korn was just trying to develop. We were really into like a cross between heavy metal and hip-hop. So we were just like trying to cross that over. I mean, we didn’t like rap or anything like that. We weren’t trying to be like a rap-rock band or anything but we liked the beats and all of that in hip-hop. We were just trying to mix that together.

Did you feel that you hit success pretty early, or did it take you awhile to get your foot in the door?

No man it pretty much came to us once we all got into one band because before that Me, Munky and David were in different bands struggling for years. But as soon as Korn came together, it pretty much just happened. We knew it happened because we would just demand things. Like, they wanted us to go on tour and they were like, “Well, we’ve got a van for you” and we were just like, “Well, we’re not going to go then”. Until you give us a tour bus, we’re not going, because we just knew we had something special.

In your song “Y’all Want a Single”, you all are clearly going after the way corporate music works and the greed that comes with it and over the years it seems like it’s gotten worse. Has your attitude towards that changed at all?

I mean, things have changed a lot over the years and how you get music these days. I think people are still trying to figure it out. We still don’t have it figured it out [Laughs] The format is changing; no one really has it down yet.

Do you all take it personally when people download your music or since everyone knows who Korn you’re just more concerned with just getting your music heard wherever you can?

No, it doesn’t matter. I mean, you can look around my bus and you’ll see burned CD’s all over the place. It’s what people do. As long as people get the music, that’s all that really matters. That’s why I say there has to be another way to handle it.

Because of your current status in the industry, do you ever feel like when you write music there’s a lot more pressure on you?

With the new CD, we came to a point in our career where we wanted to find – it has nothing to do with the fans – but we wanted to find our sound, like what we were. And every time we wrote a song we were like, “Well, does this sound like Korn?” We just tried to do everything like that. But we learned that we can make big, epic songs but we have to make sure it sounds like a Korn track. So we really focused on that.

Did that put a lot of pressure on you?

It put less pressure on us, actually. You could be writing a song that’s some crazy song that’s way harder but a Korn riff is just dun-na-nuh, dun-na-nuh, dun-na-nuh, just heavy riffs. I mean it’s still a lot of work but it put less pressure on us because we had a musical direction we were striving for. Instead of being scattered and you write twenty-five songs and you’re sitting there thinking, “Damn, what songs do we want to pick?”

Live, do you ever get frustrated trying to pick what songs to play and what songs not to play when you’re adding new material to the set list?

Yeah, we have over one hundred songs in our catalogue so it gets pretty tough. For our last tour we just went online and had the fans vote for the songs they wanted us to play. That’s who we’re playing the songs for, so it made sense. We play what they want to hear.

Jonathon said that you all basically had to put a lot of pressure on himself to make this record what it was, what was the experience like for you?

Well his role is completely different from mine. It was easy for me. I’d just go in and sit down and play. I’d go in there and play some guitar and be the first one there and jam out on guitar for an hour. That’s fun for me. I just had a good time playing guitar. Then when the band got there we’d sit down and work on whatever.

Were you happy with how the album came together?

Yeah, it sounds good man. Probably one of my favorite sounding records because I think we paid attention and tried to capture each character and it’s all in there and you can hear everybody.

Do you follow up on the reviews your album is given? 

It all depends. If I hear a review and it’s off I don’t even take it personally because I know that dude has no idea what he’s talking about. It’s as easy as that. Sometimes people don’t like to hear it, but I was reading a magazine and they were like, “The new Korn record sounds like Slipknot meets Marilyn Manson.” I’m like, that’s a pretty good call, I guess. I don’t care. It’s not like we sound like that, but if you had to compare it to something at least they’re kind of on-point. It’s not like someone coming in and being like, “It sounds like Hatebreed meets Norma Jean.” [Laughs] If they’re off you just don’t even trip on it.

You’ve been doing this for over fifteen years now and played all sorts of festivals and stuff all over the world, is it still just as fun as it was starting out or has it become more of an expectation that you just have to go and do it?

I think that over the years we’ve kind of figured it out more and it’s more convenient and easy compared to back in the day. When you start out you kind of have to figure out what you’re doing but now that we’re older we’ve more or less figured it out. We know what to expect when we travel and what to do. So it’s pretty laid back and easy. It’s convenient and easy, same thing every day.

Do you have a favorite festival that you’ve played?

Like I said, you learn to adapt to that. They’re all kind of the same. Out in the middle of nowhere, camping, out-houses for toilets you know it’s camping backstage but once you hit the stage any one of those festivals is 50-80,000 people a night so that’s all good. We can’t really pick a favorite, but it’s all good

So do you all have plans to keep Korn out for good or are you doing any side projects now that you have more outlets to begin things?

I have a side project called Stillwell, I’m actually doing the bass player’s hair right now [He’s been teasing his hair throughout the entire interview] and we’re shopping the record right now. Looking for a deal. We’ve got about six videos. The music is called street metal, we’ve copyrighted the name by the way so you can’t take it [Laughs] But I guess if you took Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and they were from the hood that’s what it kind of sounds like. Wuv [Bernardo] of P.O.D. is playing drums on the album. I’ve also got another project I just finished. It’s an album, a bass album, that I’ve recently finished. No lyrics, just instrumental and it’s called Bassically. Eighteen songs and it should hopefully be out soon; I’m just shopping it right now. We got nothing but time, I mean when you guys leave I’m going to pick up one of these guitars and just jam out because we have nothing to do all day.

So is that primarily what you do when you have down time then? Just jam out and work on your other stuff?

I’m always playing, always making music, all the time. Got nothing better to do. Until ten o’clock tonight, I have nothing else to do. Do a couple of interviews, and then play guitar all day. I started playing a lot of guitar, that’s how I ended up with this band Stillwell.

As far as your current stage set up, you have oil rigs representing your first single, “Oildale (Leave me Alone)”, was that the set up you kind of envisioned from the start or did it evolve into that? 

I think it all started out when we came up with “Oildale”, which was a nickname for the song and it just kind of took off from there. We always loved the look of it man. We’re from Bakersfield; they have a lot of that out there.

So it’s kind of like bringing a piece of home out on tour with you.

Yeah, we brought a little piece of Bakersfield out on tour with us [Laughs]

Is there a favorite song you have to play live?

Probably my favorite song to play now is actually “Oildale”, because it’s such a heavy song. There’s a little bit of everything Korn’s about on the track. That’s my favorite song right now.

When Korn finally comes to an end, what’s the one thing you want fans – new or old – to remember about Korn?

I hope people enjoy the riffs, but that’s just me.

Thanks for your time.

Thanks.

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